A conversation with our Chair: Florian Dehne

Deutsche Schule Melbourne - Chair - Florian Dehne

What inspired DSM?

I moved to Australia in 2002 from Hannover, Germany. After our first child was born, we wanted to nurture her multicultural identity.

Around that time, the Principal of the German International School in Sydney came to speak with Melbourne’s German-Australian community. He was so passionate about bilingual education and his ideas really resonated with me.

I believe this experience planted the seed for DSM.

Can you describe the journey so far?

DSM started out with only 14 students. Now we teach over 100 children – representing a level of growth that exceeded all our expectations.

In the early days, our staff, Board members and volunteers worked closely together to establish and develop our school operations. Over time, their roles have evolved significantly.

Today, our Board is responsible for governance and ensuring DSM stays true to its vision and mission.

I am coach and confidante to the DSM Principal and other key staff- and I hope to continue this role for a long time to come.

How did you develop the leadership team for DSM?

Since the start, we wanted to find capable, motivated people who are the right cultural fit for DSM.

Every Board member and leader has the school’s best interests at heart. They fulfil their roles with passion – and do everything with empathy and respect.

As a result, we have created a positive, productive team who is committed to leading DSM into the future.

How would you describe the DSM of today?

We are in a great place, in more ways than one.

Our academic outcomes are exceptional. But even more importantly, our students love coming to school every day.

Although students move on to local secondary schools after Year 6, we are still able to empower them through our German Language Program for Secondary School Students. This helps them succeed in VCE German and obtain their B2 or C1 qualification according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) – their key to studying in German at a university in Germany, Switzerland or Austria. 

What does the future look like for DSM?

We are constantly growing, which brings opportunities to do more… and do better.

Since we began in 2008, we’ve aspired to expand from a primary school into a secondary school too.

Why? Because we want to enrich our students’ lives even more. Our goal is to offer a Mixed Language IB that is approved by the German government and equivalent to the 'Abitur'.

I am excited to say that we have already started planning, approaching key stakeholders and seeking approval.